the 15 things we learned from a night at the baftas

Behind the scenes at the British film industry’s annual awards ceremony.

by Colin Crummy
10 February 2015, 1:56am

Going to an awards ceremony is like prepping for war
It was Tina Fey who, introducing this year's Golden Globe Awards, quipped it only took three hours to prepare for her role as human woman. Having watched the getting ready for this year's BAFTAS, I feel like she's underestimated the timescale here. The BAFTAs prep takes place in the Savoy Hotel, which is like a celebrity military base for the weekend and Sunday afternoon has the air of an army about to mobilise, if the army included a battalion of publicists and Chris 'Captain America' Evans loitering in the lobby.

The troops come armed with hairspray
In the corridors of the Savoy, the make-up boys with Conchita Wurst beards, black shoulder length hair and burnished tans sweep in and out of rooms to apply concealer while hairdressers come running with spray cans like grenades to blow up some hairstyles. These chaps mean business; they come armed with GHDs of mass destruction. Apparently, they also tear up the dancefloor at the after parties. We're in.

A good tailor steadies the ship
In suite 218, i-D is stationed with actors Freddie Fox, James Norton and Ed Speleers who are being dressed for the awards under the watchful eye of Hackett Head Tailor Graham Simpkins. The British gentleman outfitters are kitting out the boys for the evening - as well Boyhood star Ellar Coltrane and The Riot Club's Sam Claflin - and Simpkins is on hand to make sure every cumberband, bow tie and pocket square is in order. Simpkins is a man who can wrap you up like a Christmas present in a matter of seconds; the kind of bloke who after five minutes with you want to ask like why the washing machine's making that funny noise and how come your last relationship didn't work. He's like the dream Dad in a snatty three-piece suit.

The red carpet is a queue with nice underlay 
Suited up, it's time to hit the red carpet at the Grand Opera House, home to the BAFTAs for the evening. Anytime I've watched E! it always seemed like celebrities sashayed up one by one. Well television lies, kids. The red carpet is one big queue. It's quite a nice queue, seeing as you get to gawp at Henry Cavill as you're waiting. So it would be unseemly to complain about the queue at awards but if one were to, I'd like to point out that we'd all get in the building, be nicely seated and have time for a quick loo break if so many people in the queue weren't dawdling about waiting to see if they can spot David Beckham coming up behind them. Just a thought.

Glamazonian women like taking selfies
It would be gentlemanly to suggest these ladies amounted to obstructions on the red carpet. Ungentlemanly it is then.

No one eats
You know those pictures of the Oscar winners scoffing a burger after the show? Turns out they are not simply publicity exercises in humble pie after your triumphant win. Part of the prep for an awards ceremony includes not eating simply because between snappy snaps and grooming, there just isn't time to eat. It's why at the BAFTAs, Julianne Moore, when presenting an award mid way through the evening, opened with: 'I'm hungry.' An entire Grand Opera House's bellies rumbled in agreement.

Spare a thought for Julianne Moore
She only went and won Best Actress for Still Alice after that, which meant staying behind after the show to do press. Other folk likely to be friggin' starving by the end of the evening included Best Supporting Actor J.K. Simmons (for Whiplash, Best Actor Eddie Redmayne (for The Theory of Everything) and Best Supporting Actress Patricia Arquette (for Boyhood).

Lea Seydoux wont best everything
The upcoming Bond girl looked amazing in a egg yolk Prada gown so much so that I thought about going home and falling in love with her all over again in Blue is the Warmest Colour, except it was quite late and the film's three hours long. Anyway, point being: roll on November and Lea in the new James Bond film, Spectre.

The Baftas are better than the Brits
An aside, if you'll permit me. I once went to the Brits at the invitation of a foreign princess type who'd bought a table right at the back of Earl's Court in the vain hope of making it into the UK charts by a sprinkling of adjacent stardust and a fuck load of cash. The Brits were horrid; like everyone awful you'd ever worked with getting lairy on Smirnoff shots inside a vast aircraft hanger with Cheryl Cole up front, the size of a minion and singing 'Fight for this Love'. The BAFTAs are different. They are much more genteel and refined. Even in the gods of the Grand Opera House you can spot the top of Eddie Redmayne's head, end of row five just in case, you know, he might win Best Actor. Which he does! Slightly tragic endnote about the flipside of success: I don't think that pop princess exactly broke the UK charts.

Everyone loves Jack O'Connell
Anyway, on with the show! This thing's not for losers. One of the biggest cheers of the night was reserved for Jack O'Connell, who won The EE Rising Star Award. It's voted for by the public who clearly like the cut of Jack's jib after a triumphant year at the helm of three films, Starred Up, '71 and Unbroken. He accepted his award in typically swaggering style, to which host Stephen Fry remarked: 'So lacking in confidence…'

Everyone also loves Eddie Redmayne
The BAFTAs Best Actor also got the other biggest cheer of the night and made a very nice speech about families. A lot of wives were thanked throughout the night generally, while Stephen Fry made various noises about kissing men. Standard awards fare there then.

The Lego Movie guys showed us the funny
The BAFTA for Best Animated Film went to The Lego Movie. Snubbed by the Oscars, its directors said: 'You guys win the award for our favourite academy by far.' So everything is awesome, except the American Academy Awards.

The Grand Budapest Hotel triumphed
Wes Anderson's film took home the most awards including Best Original Screenplay. All the footage from the film - from costume to production design - was a reminder of just what is so special about the universe Anderson conjures up.

The award for conversation I'd most like to have eavesdropped on goes to...
The one between Stephen Fry and Tom Cruise during the Best Film nominations. Swapping notes on religious beliefs mayhap?

It was Ellar Coltrane's night
The Best Film award, presented by Tom Cruise, was won by Boyhood. Director Richard Linklater wasn't in town so producer Kathleen Kennedy accepted the award with the film's stars Patricia Arquette, Ethan Hawke and Ellar Coltrane, who read out his speech from his iPhone. It was hard not to be moved by the Boyhood gang's speeches, which remarked on how the film is a pretty simple deal - no explosions, no major tragedies - just a documentation of one boy's life over 12 years. It's pretty special stuff and a deserved winner. Let's hope the BAFTAs have put wind in its sails for the Oscars in a fortnight's time. 


Text Colin Crummy
Film still Boyhood

Colin Crummy